Is Johnny Depp somehow Johnny Depp-proof? With the early receipts for the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise now promising another blockbuster in the bag, it would appear that the actor’s somehow invulnerable to his own noxious public profile. Though the revelation that he had physically abused longtime partner Amber Heard came to light last year, it apparently hasn’t diminished his earning potential, and frustrating as that may be, it means we’re in for a whole lot more Depp. And if producer Jerry Bruckheimer has anything to say about, more Jack Sparrow in specific.
For those who engage in it, speculating on the significance of obscure clues in the Star Wars universe has gone beyond a hobby and grown into a way of life. Even something as simple as a three-word phrase — one word of which is “the” — can spark months of obsessive investigation. And while George Lucas’ disciples will have to wait until December to finally learn the identity of The Last Jedi’s title figure, that has not stopped the dogged gumshoes of Vanity Fair from pumping key figures for information.
As noted in a new item at Variety today, Sony has been on something of a roll when it comes to getting female talent behind the camera. They’ve put together a respectable slate of films directed by women: Catherine Hardwicke was tapped to translate narco thriller Miss Bala for American audiences, Broad City mastermind Lucia Aniello wrote-directed the upcoming bachelorette-shenanigans comedy Rough Night, Michelle MacLaren landed the Sam Claflin-led thriller Nightingale, and perhaps most intriguingly of all, Elizabeth Banks has taken her next directorial project with a reboot of Charlie’s Angels. And for the latter two, today brings concrete news of impending developments.
The prevailing message of the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming has been that of novelty. This will be a fresh take on the Peter Parker mythos, making him younger than ever, sticking him in the treacherous social minefield of high school, and assigning him a lovably bratty irreverence more in-step with the comic-book original. Plus, Aunt May is young and hot now! But while Marvel and Sony’s advertising has gone to great lengths to assure audiences that this will not be their father’s Spider-Man (and it definitely won’t be the Andrew Garfield one we’re all psychologically working to repress), there is one respect in which this production is business as usual.
Aside from behaving like a normal, un-intimidating human being, there’s nothing Michael Shannon can’t do. When stuck in waiting rooms or the like, a fun way to pass the time is imagining Shannon taking over the lead role in any movie. It’s a can’t-fail formula for success: Jaws, but the shark is Michael Shannon? I’m there. Mulholland Dr., but Michael Shannon takes over both of Naomi Watts’ parts? Two tickets, please. A Transformers movie where Shannon appears in place or the giant alien robot? That would actually somehow make more sense. So when you see a headline that says “Michael Shannon bigfoot dramedy,” you can pretty much stop reading.
Those fans curious about when they’d see a new Wonder Woman poster need no longer wonder. [douses self in gasoline, flings immolating body off of steep cliff into shark-infested waters] Now that the customary pun penance — punance, if you will — is all over and through with, we can present the new one-sheet for Warner Bros.’ upcoming big screen outing for Diana Prince without any further ado. And it just might be the most handsome poster yet, a swirl of warm primary colors with the focus on a radical juxtaposition.
Jessica Chastain’s had a busy week at the Cannes Film Festival, sitting in as one of the Competition jurors under this year’s El Presidente, filmmaker Pedro Almodovar. She’s been kept plenty occupied, flitting back and forth between screenings and photo ops, taking interviews, and skillfully changing the subject whenever co-juror Will Smith asks her what she thought of Collateral Beauty. (That last one’s in my imagination, but still.) But even as she puts a comfortingly symmetrical face on international cinephilia, the beloved and award-festooned star has found time to ink a deal on a new project. And my fellow Chastainiacs have ample cause to rejoice — it may be her most swoonworthy turn yet.
Those viewers of the opinion that the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise numbers among the more successful revivals in the recent deluge (and if you disagree, feel free to kindly see yourself to the e-door) tend to credit Caesar as the film’s secret weapon. The intelligent chimpanzee provided the films with a human center, ironically enough, conveying his maturation and radicalization through unprecedented motion-capture technology and acting from Andy Serkis. The upcoming War For the Planet of the Apes will form the final chapter of this trilogy, and according to the film’s producer, may hold bad news for Caesar superfans.
Beaming families, teary smiles, mortarboards in the air — it’s graduation season, which means that more importantly, it’s celebrity commencement address season. While some high-profile speakers have received a chillier reception than others, the A-lister speech has long been a reliably amusing diversion in between long-winded orations from dusty academic types. Maya Rudolph took plenty of artistic license with “The Star-Spangled Banner” at my graduation ceremony from Tulane a few years ago, an unforgettable experience that I was too drunk to currently remember. But today brings video of another movie star taking the stage before a mass of fresh-faced students blissfully unaware of how hard getting a job is. Ladies, gentlemen, Will Ferrell is in the house.
The latest addition to the pantheon of mega-flops has been christened. Just as street hooligan Arthur instantly ascended to royalty when he pulled Excalibur from its stone, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword has descended to ignominy by pulling a turd out of the box-office. Perhaps not my best lede work, but it’s Monday. Cut a guy some slack.
In one of the Trump administration’s more agreeable defilings of decades-long tradition, the White House’s ritzy move theater will now be available to those visitors touring the building’s East Wing. Say what you will about the new Commander-in-Chief — that he’s a pudenda-grabbing, fact-resistant demagogue, for instance — but at least he’s going to allow the general public a glimpse of how the most powerful man in the nation took in Finding Dory.
Martial arts expert and outspoken proponent of condom usage Jackie Chan is at it again, raring and ready to kick some enemy buttock even as he ages into his mid-sixties. The actor has kept up a steady stream of feature work (only some of which requires him to play chauffeur to a real live lion) and is currently preparing to re-mount his his kids’ cartoon series The Jackie Chan Adventures, but ever the work-horse, Chan’s just announced another new project. And what’s more, his next mission will pair him with a partner all too familiar to Eastern and Western audiences alike.
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